Sweetly feasting.


I know Christmas is over, but I just remembered I haven’t shown these to you! One weekend in December, Xin, from Pudding Pie Lane, baked up a storm and we spent all of Saturday catching up, giggling, getting far too sugar high, and playing with Christmas decorations. So much fun! If only we could do this all the time?? Sadly, I am back to work on Tuesday (I know lots of you are too, so we shall be mournful together!), and so no more feasting and lazing. Christmas season is, alas, over (although technically speaking, it’s not over until 12 days from December 25, no?)… for me at least. Until 2016.

Hang in there folks… 3 more working days until the new year.


Images and styling: Courage & Dash; Food: Pudding Pie Lane


Curious Shop: Fresh Produce and Vintage Kitchenwares


Right. Put me on a train to Oxford now, please. How delicious does the food at 2 North Parade look?? The husband and I are often moaning about the lack of greengrocers/fishmongers/butchers around us… you know, traditional small specialist businesses which provided fresh food that hasn’t travelled hundreds/thousands of miles. We are surrounded by about 5 supermarkets, and sadly, I admit that’s where we do most of our shopping. It’s very convenient, but doesn’t stop us from being slightly jealous of Oxford for having 2 North Parade!!

If you have been following Courage & Dash for a while, you would know that in addition to a (healthy) love of antiques/vintage, I also have a great soft spot for food. Fresh, homely food, good produce… makes me all warm and fuzzy (I know that sounds a bit sad, but it’s the simple things, is it not?).

2 North Parade is a neighbourhood produce store run by Peter Slade and Jojo Goodfellow. The business works closely with local farmers, producers and suppliers, which is great if you are concerned about the provenance of your ingredients. You can also get recipe ideas for cooking with the seasonal stock available – I’m a big advocate of eating seasonal as food tends to be tastier when grown during the time of the year it is supposed to! Even better, Peter and Jojo are developing their own courtyard kitchen garden to offer cut-to-order herbs. Yes, please.

If you like your kitchenware to be stylish (of course you do, that’s why you are here!), 2 North Parade now also stocks Old Made Shop items, specially curated for the store. Old Made is an Oxford-based online store which carries vintage and handmade homewares… check out their old measuring spoons and wooden pizza boards.


For more foodie/kitchen goodness, check out 2 North Parade at http://www.2northparade.com/ or visit them at 2 North Parade Avenue, Oxford, OX2 6LX; see Old Made Shop at http://www.oldmadeshop.co.uk/.


Images: 2 North Parade (via Peter Slade)

The Curious Shop: See the Foodie Bugle IN REAL LIFE


The Foodie Bugle has always been one of our favourites brands – not only do we enjoy the fact that Silvana and John-Paul de Soissons used to work in banking, the range of stylish living products and tasty-sounding ingredients in the online shop gives us hours and hours of joyous browsing.

So imagine our excitement when we found out that they had opened a store in Bath! Wooooo.


We first wrote about the Foodie Bugle here, when we were drawn to their charming mix of vintage and new items for the home. The brand can be described as having a relaxed, old world feel – I particularly enjoy the focus on artisan crafts and on good, homemade food, something we could always have more of in modern life!


The Foodie Bugle shop carries everything their online store has, and also has for sale fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and deli food. There is also a tearoom where you can pause from your city-wandering.


Visit the Foodie Bugle store at:

7 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath, BA1 2LP | http://www.thefoodiebugleshop.com

The shop is now open from 8am to 6pm every day, Monday – Sunday (longer hours in the summer, please contact store for information).

Have you been to the store yet? What are some of your favourite kitchen products?


Images: Jason Ingram via The Foodie Bugle

Drinking it all in…


“I am so fond of tea that I could write a whole dissertation on its virtues. It comforts and enlivens without the risks attendant on spirituous liquors. Gentle herb! Let the florid grape yield to thee. Thy soft influence is a more safe inspirer of social joy.”
― James Boswell, London Journal, 1762-1763

I love tea – tea on its own, or with scones and cake and buttered toasts; tea on a summery evening or on a cold, winter morning. Today I visited Best of Britannia (you should definitely go have a look – it’s a market stocked full of all types of British designer-makers), and discovered the wonderful Comins Tea House, in Dorset (more on them next time!). Rob, the co-owner/founder of the teahouse, has such respect for Oriental tea-drinking ceremonies and traditions. It reminded me of tea drinking as a child with my father – his Chinese roots had instilled in him a real reverence for and delight in taking tea properly, and he loved to share those traditions.

When Dragonfly Tea (a family-owned British company with over 100 years experience) gave us a copy of their new guidebook, Brewed With a View, we were really intrigued. I rather love taking my tea in bed or while lounging on a sofa, but this guide book paired tea with locations, and encouraged the reader to connect the flavours of the tea with the scenery. I guess tea drinking is supposed to be a public and communal experience! Think of all the poetry reading and calligraphy that must have happened under moonlit pavilions in China…

I chose Pu’er, a fermented black tea with a slightly earthy taste. As you can see, I still take my loose leaf tea without straining – a Chinese habit! Brewed with a view paired my choice of tea with Glengoyne Distillery in Strathclyde (I think the connection is smokey whisky?) – imagine drinking tea in a distillery! Would love to try that. 

Of course, I paired my tea with a chocolate chip cookie, because, really, if we are thinking of tea as a comfort, cookies definitely fall under that definition! We do intend, however, to give the guidebook a whirl – wouldn’t it be fun to sip tea that evoked connections with your surroundings?



A limited first-run of the Brewed With a View guidebook (which comes with tea samples) is available at the following visitor centres and on dragonflytea.com:

–       Liverpool Tourist Information Centre, Albert Dock
–       Tatton Park Visitor Centre
–       Kibble Palace Shop
–       Glengoyne Distillery Shop
–       Roman Baths Tourist Shop
–       Glamis Castle Visitors Office

Let us know if you do manage to pick one up and use it!

For more information, visit http://dragonflytea.com.


Images & Styling: Courage & Dash

Tea and cake in a secret Italian village…

Rossella di Bidino is back with another guest post in our travel series focussing on Rome and its surrounding areas. This time, its off to an old, once-crumbling city, now bohemian, artisan community, set high above an ancient valley…

Image: An American in Rome

In a the province of Viterbo, less than an hour away from Rome, lies a quaint, medieval village called Calcata. With 924 inhabitants, Calcata is not your typical tourist attraction. It can feel like a ghost city at times,  a sort of secret world where one would arrive and lose touch with time outside.

In the 1930s, Old Calcata, Calcata Vecchia, was abandoned on fears of the city crags crumbling. A new village, Calcata Nuova, was built on a higher plateau, not far away. In the 1970s, however, Calcata Vecchia was rediscovered: creative people from all over the world arrived, almost by chance, and began to to restore the village. Unlike touristic Rome, which is bustling and alive, in Calcata you find silence, a certain sleepy stillness, and glimpses of artisans amongst the ancient architecture.

101 tea room_calcata detail

In the middle of that dreaming village, Gemma, owner of tea house, La Sala, decided to make her home, 32 years ago. “My story began in Paris – I was visiting a friend of mine. Walking around Paris I saw Mariage Freres and decided to spend all my money in tea. I came back to Calcata and almost immediately opened a tea room.” That was 23 years ago.

101 tea room_on the way101 tea room_teapots

La Sala offers 101 different types of teas. After many years of existence, La Sala’s tea list is rather elaborate; it still has Gemma’s first blend, however: the 101 Tea with its scents of vanilla, jasmine, rose, bergamot and tangerine. Other teas on offer include African Sunset (mango, hibiscus and spices),  and Indian Dream (cinnamon, orange, cardamom). There are also classic teas and oriental teas (Oolong tea, for example).

101 tea room_tea and cake (1)

“People told me I was crazy. Tea in Italy. Italians drink only coffee,” Gemma says. Sometimes, it still happens that someone asks for a coffee in the tea house. It is possible to get a coffee in La Sala, although, to be honest, the magic word really is “tea”.

101 tea room_table

“Every day I’m happy to wake up and come here. I love my job”.

La Sala has small, cozy rooms, but on a hot day, the place to be is on the upstairs terrace with a stunning view of the Treja Valley dropping away from Calcata.

“Alas, my favorite tea room doesn’t exist anymore. It was Patisserie Alsacienne chez Bloch in Ghent. I was in my world there with porcelain and silver teapots, great patisserie and special guests.” Despite that, Gemma should be pretty aware of the importance of her tea room for people like me.


– By Rossella di Bidino

For more, visit La Sala’s Facebook page here.

For information on Calcata, see here.


Images: Rossella di Bidino (except first image, from An American in Rome)